House Passes Legislation to Reduce Electric Co-op Pension Premium Payments by More Than $30 Million

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today applauded House passage of H.R. 1994, the SECURE Act. The bill will lower the premiums that electric co-ops pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) for their defined benefit pension plan.

“Electric co-op pension plans pose nominal risk of default, yet co-ops continue to pay PBGC premiums as if they were Fortune 500 companies with higher risk profiles,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said. “I applaud the House for recognizing these important differences and passing this bill to save electric co-ops more than $30 million annually. Our pension plan helps co-ops attract and retain qualified employees for the future, while promoting economic security for retirees. We are grateful to Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) for championing these provisions in the House.”

NRECA offers retirement and health insurance benefits to co-op employees, including a defined benefit pension plan. More than 880 electric co-ops participate in the plan, which covers more than 56,000 employees in 47 states.

The PBGC is a government agency that protects pension benefits in private-sector defined benefit plans. In April, more than 2,000 electric co-op advocates raised the PBGC premium issue with their members of Congress during NRECA’s legislative conference.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.